Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New Things, Blue Things, and Old Things Too

We are still making little improvements on the house, one room at a time, while sticking to our fairly small budget. We've made one big purchase, a chair for the living room, which I'll blog about when it arrives. In the meantime, here are a few glimpses of progress.

We finally got around to hanging our prints from Elsa Mora in the little blue room. We still aren't sure what to call this room. Sometimes, it's "the library" because the opposite two walls are lined with overflowing bookcases. And sometimes, it's just the "blue room."

We aren't finished in here yet. I will probably change that table, as it's too traditional for my taste right next to the very old rocking chair, which came from my great grandparent's house (or possibly older?) so obviously, the chair stays. Actually, the table came from my grandmother's house and is probably old as well, but not "family heirloom" old. I might try to find another place in the house for it. It's challenging to mix family pieces in with more modern furniture, which is really more my style, while also incorporating little treasures picked up here and there. But I think we're doing ok so far. (Designing was so much easier in school when I could make a space from scratch, without history and attachment.)

That little elephant on the table came from India. A friend of Peter's brought it back for him a few years ago (she is Vietnamese and married an Indian man...they went to India on their honeymoon to visit his family). I believe elephants are good luck in India if their trunks are up, like this little guy. Someone told me that in India they have festivals to honor the Hindu god Ganesha, the elephant god, to bring about good fortune. I love to hear about traditions like that.

If you'd like to see detail shots of these prints and read more about them, I wrote about them here.

A couple of new pieces of pottery (bought several months ago at a vintage shop) lined up with other older things on our entryway table. The two on the far right came from a trip to Spain about seven or eight years ago. The one with the dandelion in the middle was a birthday gift (several years ago) from Peter, bought in a local shop in Arlington that's now closed. We were sad to see it go because the owner (a Japanese man from San Francisco who we got to know a bit) stocked great art, housewares, all sorts of stuff in a tiny shoebox-sized store. He was here in northern Virginia to take care of his ailing mother, and he would skype every afternoon on a laptop in the store with his daughter back in SF. She was really cute.

We used to know a lot of shop owners and restaurant workers in our old neighborhood, which is something I miss. Many of them are gone now, and we are too, moved further out to the suburbs where there's less of a "this is my block" kind of feeling...but I digress.

Here are the two recent additions: tiny little mid-century vessels that are so cute, don't you think? I kept carrying them around the store while I tried to convince myself not to buy them. After all, we have too many pieces still packed away and not enough places to display them. But there was no avoiding it; they had to come home with me.

I love that they are very different pieces but both have the same opening.

I also moved some things around on the mantel, but for some reason, I only took a photo of this side. So anyway, here are things you've seen before just rearranged. I love those silhouettes.

Last, but not least, is the new bistro set for the patio. Peter wasn't sold on buying a bistro set, but the bright, modern blue color won him over. It's such a good color! Also, the price could not be beat (I think the whole set was on sale for $87 from Target). Plus, they are very heavy, solid pieces; I'm guessing each chair probably weighs 20 lbs. They fold flat for storage, though because they are so heavy, I think they'll be fine left out in all but the most severe of storms. And the powder-coated steel is weather-proof and requires no maintenance (music to my lazy ears).

So, that's the progress for now. Hopefully, I'll have another progress post in a couple of weeks!


  1. Love your little collection of vases :) And the new bistro set is awesome...love that blue!

  2. Loving the blue..especially that awesome blue wall color in your "library/blue room" ...I have also found it challenging to mix family pieces with newer things, sentimental pieces with art etc. but it takes time (we moved in two years ago and still aren't done!) But it's so much fun:)
    Looks like you guys are doing a really nice job!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! If you're interested in the color, I blogged about it here:



  3. LOVE the blue room.

    gorgeous color and the prints look beautiful against it as does your heirloom rocking chair.

    nice bistro set!

  4. <3 drollll... xx

  5. Wonderful collection of pottery and vases! It takes me back to my parents house where they have pots ranging from large to the very tiniest size scattered about the house. The two new pottery pieces remind me of this most. I guess that's what happens when many of their friends are potters. The bistro set is a great color too! We're looking for something bright and fun yet smaller for our back patio and for some reason I never even thought about Target! I may have to check it out!

  6. Your house seems to have a lot of natural lighting or perhaps you are magician with your camera. Probably both. I really like the little pottery vases. I would buy them but then Ryan would think it's 'unnecessary' decoration. This is what I get for dating another scientist like myself.

  7. The blue wall color feels so perfect for where you live. Kind of patriotic without feeling like Captain America lives in there, which is obviously a good thing. I also like your teensy brass elephant.

  8. Such a pretty blue! When we moved in there was one room with blue walls and it was always referred to as "the blue room". We also had the pink room, the big room, etc. Very creative names.

  9. Oh I love the blue room, that colour is gorgeous and the prints are beautiful on the wall! I collect little elephants made of different materials, all with the trunk upwards. I started the collection the first time I went to South India a few years ago.
    Your home looks really nice!

  10. I love Elsa Mora's work. She's a fellow compatriot, incidentally. I really like the wooden trinkets on the mantel. :)

    This will be your first summer in the new house, right? Can't wait to see how the outdoor areas shape up!

    Ah, to have a home of my own, with its unique spaces and decor requirements...

  11. You have such a beautiful house. And i feel your pain with things to display!

  12. Love seeing details from your home! We have a very similar bistro set from Target, but in black. We bought it a couple of summers ago and it's held up great!

  13. Mary,
    You have such a great taste. That blue color is beautiful. The prints look fabulous. I love the color of the frames. I just love everything; the little elephant, your ceramics, the bistro set...
    Elsa :)